Elwood Haynes

Imagine having a job that required you to slowly travel all over the United States on the bumpy and unpaved country roads in a horse drawn carriage? Such miserable working condition inspired an engineer Elwood Haynes to create one of the first American automobiles in the history called the Pioneer.

Elwood was born in Portland, Indiana in 1857. After graduation at Johns Hopkins University, this remarkable inventor accepted the job as the manager of a natural gas plant.

Spending hours on the road was a part of his daily business. Eventually, he decided to find a better method of travelling and managed to change the ways people think of the horseless carriage.

Elwood Haynes was a skilled metallurgist with several strong patents such as stainless steel, stellite and a cobalt-chromium alloy listed in his name. The first step to make a vehicle better than standard horse driven carriage was to figure out another more efficient power source.

Haynes conteplated on steam power engine that were popular in the day, but concluded the risk of fire was simply to great. In addition, one could not secure the constant water supply that such engine needed. Electric engines were the latest technology of the time, however, they were massive and extremely heavy. A carriage with electrical engine wouldn't simply be able to move.

The natural choice was a basic gasoline engine with a single cylinder,capable of generating just one horsepower. Still, it was faster and could carry the carriage farther than any horse. The carriage was build by brothers Elmer and Edger Apperson and consisted of an open bodied vehicle on a 28 inch bicycle wheels.

All the vital works were done in their Riverside Machine Shop. Weighing around 1,000 pounds, this push start prototype could transport only one person. In 1894 Haynes completed the first durability test of his pioneer car. The simple machine managed to return to Kokomo going at a steady rate of seven miles an hour. Elwood Haynes stated that a new era was coming for highway travel.

He strongly believed that cars could overshadow the growing railroad industry and become a huge industry on its own. Five years later, Elwood Haynes became the first American to drive 1,000 miles in a motor car. Even though there were earlier automobile prototype such as Duryea brothers model, Pioneer marked a landmark for the automotive industry development.

The car was later given several upgrades in form of a stronger engine and single tube pneumatic tires. Despite the modifications, the model couldn't operate in reverse. Elwood Haynes donated the original to the Smithsonian in 1910, which restored it in 1961. Encouraged by the initial success a Haynes-Apperson Company was established in 1896. The three pioneers eventually parted ways, but Elwood continued to manufacture automobiles until the 1920s.

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